BMW has announced it will reveal a ‘solar carport’ concept at the official international media launch of the new i8 plug-in hybrid sports car in Los Angeles.
Developed by DesignworksUSA, the industrial design arm of the BMW Group, the carport concept borrows styling cues from the new BMW i models. In addition to the carbon elements on the side of the carport, the principal material used the carport’s architecture is bamboo in the form of struts. For the generation of electricity, translucent glass-on-glass solar modules are used that BMW says will come with a 30-year guarantee in Europe.
“With the solar carport concept we opted for a holistic approach: not only is the vehicle itself sustainable, but so is its energy supply,” explains Tom Allemann, who is responsible for the carport design at BMW Group DesignworksUSA. “This is therefore an entirely new generation of carports that allows energy to be produced in a simple and transparent way. It renders the overarching theme of lightweight design both visible and palpable.”
BMW says it wants its i model customers to remain independent of electricity prices. In conjunction with the BMW i Wallbox Pro, both the i3 and i8 can be specifically charged with solar electricity from the carport. The Wallbox also indicates the amount of solar energy that goes into the car and provides an analysis of recent charging processes which shows the respective proportions of solar and grid power. If the solar panels provide energy beyond the requirements of the vehicle, this surplus solar power can be put to domestic use.
With a fully charged battery, the i8 has a claimed range of around 22 miles in all-electric mode.